Fabrics of distinction

Vitale Barberis Canonico

Established in 1663, Italian fabric mill Vitale Barberis Canonico weaves exquisite cloth admired by the most discerning

You might have never heard the name Vitale Barberis Canonico, but chances are you may already have its fabric in your wardrobe. For Vitale Barberis Canonico supplies all the major clothing manufacturers and top-end suit makers and best retailers around the world.

When it comes to classic menswear, the slogan “Made in Italy” is regarded as something close to a guarantee of quality, and that is why many of the finest tailors on Savile Row use the fabrics from Vitale Barberis Canonico, a company located in the north of Italy. Francesco Barberis Canonico, the Creative Director, is the 13th generation of his family to run the historic brand, ensuring that traditions and standards are maintained even as the business constantly innovates to meet the needs of gentlemen today. “Contemporaneousness and ‘classic with a twist’ are the elements on which we base our decisions,” he says. “Being elegant means paying attention to details and listening to new generations, knowing lifestyles and trends. It means asking questions while looking at the present and the future and managing change with flexibility and coherence, in a perfect balance between classical design and innovation that always delivers superior quality.”

The bulk of the nearly ten million metres of fabric that Vitale Barberis Canonico produces each year is made from Saxon merino wool from Australia, though the company sources a range of other raw materials, including red eri silk, local wool, alpaca wool, mohair and cashmere.

“Half of the company’s employees come from the tiny local village. Our strong sense of family is not just about family members,” says Francesco. “People who work with us are considered part of our family, too: their father most likely worked with my father, their grandfather with my grandfather, and so on. They feel like the company is theirs, too, and are proud to work here, whether as menders, weavers, spinners or any other job.”

Francesco is able to say without fear of exaggeration that the company is “one of the best-known textile companies in the world”. It maintains its reputation through using the best raw materials and executing production with elegance and style. “Vitale Barberis Canonico represents a point of reference in the world in terms of the finest ‘Made in Italy’ fabrics for suiting,” says Francesco. “English tailors in Savile Row appreciate our fabric, especially how it makes up, and that makes me very proud.”